What foods to eat to help fight dementia
Over time, researchers pinpointed several foods and nutrients that seem to have a particularly protective effect on our cognitive health.
From foods, rather than supplements. Healthy food sources of vitamin E include nuts, seeds, green leafy vegetables and wholegrains.
B – group vitamins
From wholegrains, pulses, green leafy vegetables and nutritional yeast. Add a reliable source of vitamin B12, such as a supplement providing 50g daily or a higher dose twice a week.
From ground flaxseed, chia or hemp seeds (2 tablespoons), walnuts, rapeseed oil or algae-derived supplements.
Green leafy vegetables
An excellent source of B-group vitamins, vitamin E, antioxidants and other beneficial phytochemicals.
In one study, people who consumed one or two servings of these vegetables daily experienced a slower cognitive decline – equivalent to being 11 years younger compared with those who rarely or never consumed green leafy vegetables!
Fruit with a very high flavonoid content. Flavonoids are a group of natural compounds found only in plants and research indicates they have a neuroprotective effect. Studies have discovered that people who regularly consume berries have a significantly lower risk of dementia.
Plant sources of protein
Pulses (beans, peas and lentils), nuts, seeds and wholegrains are not just healthy sources of protein, they are low in saturated fat and high in fibre – exactly what you need to lower your risk of cognitive decline.
Monounsaturated fats and vitamin supplements
It’s likely that monounsaturated fats (olive oil, avocados) and vitamin D (supplements) also have a protective effect on your nervous system, but more research is needed.
Sunshine is the primary source of vitamin D but we should all take a vitamin D supplement, at least over the winter months, because there simply isn’t sufficient sunshine and we don’t get enough, regardless of diet. Making it a part of your daily routine may be a good strategy.
It’s important to note that if you’re using multiple supplements, choose those without iron and copper as high intakes of these minerals can have a negative effect on your cognitive health.
Take iron supplements only when advised by a medical professional to avoid dangerously high iron intake.